A free thinker in the Heartland...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Two Cents On Virginia Tech

I know in any tragedy, we need answers. We want accountability for those who died, and we want someone to blame.

What I don't like is how we are quick to blame police, victims, the school... and it seems we forget that the blame lies in that one, crazy shooter. Others have actually put my thoughts a little better than I could, so I will use their words. First from Mike of Mike's Neighborhood:
The tragedy goes without saying. It's a horrible, horrible story.

But I'm also disturbed because I know we're gonna get all manner of hand-wringing and quasi-concerned punditry from all sides for the next few weeks: pro-gun, anti-gun, anti-immigration (because early reports seem to indicate that the gunman was a Chinese man, in America on a student VISA; if I'm wrong, I apologize. But that's what I've read), pro-immigration, comparisons to terrorism, arguments that it has nothing to do with terror, analogies to Iraq, etc.
Terrible things happen because there are terrible people in the world. There isn't much more of a lesson we can draw. As humans, we want to know "why?" But there's really no answer.
I always thought of that last part when I heard the MSM ask over and over "Why" and when they asked people over and over what were their thoughts and they would answer, "It was so senseless. Why would he do it?"

And actually Atrios summed it up best, although he makes his point in harsher words than I would have used...
My point, below, was simply that if people want to kill people and don't care if they get killed or caught they're going to kill people. The existence of guns facilitate certain kinds of crimes, but there are many other options. Large motor vehicles could be quite effective, too, and don't require much creativity or skill. More creative options also exist.

Obviously security measures can protect specific locations and minimize the likelihood of certain kinds of violence at those locations - hard to bring a gun past security at an airport, easy to shoot up the check-in desk area or drive your SUV into the crowd standing outside - but I assume we don't want all of our spaces to have that kind of security. There's a catchy phrase for that kind of state, which usually has bad connotations.

College campuses are not daycare centers, they are places where large numbers of adults live and study and work. While some, especially those in dense urban areas, are more closed to the outside world, many are quite open. You know, like shopping malls are, another set of places where large numbers of people congregate with minimal security present and where someone who didn't care if he got killed or caught could successfully kill a lot of people.

None of this is an argument in defense of whatever specific measures the campus took yesterday, it's just about the notion that there are any general security measures any of us would want applied which could prevent this kind of thing. You can't. At most you can divert it.
He has a great point... when people ask how this tragedy could have been avoided, there are two options: a total police state, or a ban on guns and a huge massive effort to destroy what stockpiles are here. Neither option will happen... so we are stuck with pretty much the way we are living now.

Anyway... some thoughts.